Song Analysis

Baker Baker

Monday 8 August 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

“Baker Baker” is probably the most straightforward auto-biographical song on Under the Pink. While most of the album’s tracks are much like an “impressionist painting” with coded lyrics relying a lot on archetypes and parabols and featuring a lot of characters, this song is very intimate and very clear as far as meaning and metaphors are concerned. Tori introduced it as “The second part to ‘Me And A Gun.’ Next page.” in an interview for the Free Music Montly in August 1994 and it deals with the intimacy problems she met as a consequence of her rape. On Little Earthquakes, “Me and a Gun” allowed her to face the trauma of this traumatic event that she had previously burried inside herself, but she found the healing process to be quite difficult. While the song had a deep impact on the audience and young women who came to see her before the shows to share their violent experiences, it exposed her in a big way, something that proved out to be quite delicate for her to handle. And, in a broader way, it made her memories of the drama all the more vivid - something necessary to engage the healing process, but where do you go from there to be “whole again?”

At the time of Little Earthquakes, Tori had been living for five years with Eric Rosse, who also produced that first record as well as Under the Pink. They met in L.A. around the time of Y Kant Tori Read - Tori’s rock chick days - nearly three years after the young singer had been violently assaulted by an audience member after a gig she gave in a piano bar. The couple had always been very close, but after the release of “Me and a Gun” (which she sang at every show of the tour), she withdrew emotionally and had to acknowledge this fact. “‘Baker Baker’ is kind of tragic in a way,” she confessed to the Baltimore Sun in January 1994. “I’ve had to look at how I treated men, and on this record, I think with ‘Baker Baker,’ to deal with a man that truly loved me, but that I wasn’t emotionally available for. You know how women always say men aren’t emotionally available. Well, a lot of women aren’t emotionally available.” “We’re always blaming the guys,” she continued in The Los Angeles Times, “saying, ‘You’re not sensitive enough; why can’t you just be more understanding?’ And then when they are more sensitive, we kick ‘em in the face and go for the hockey player. It’s like ‘Dominate me, just dominate me. Not long - I’ll time you - just a little!’”

In a long and painful interview for the Irish musical magazine Hot Press in February 1994, she explained how she had a hard time not equating sex with violence since her rape and how she had difficulties having sex with Eric while remaining relaxed and focused. “Being in that place in north New Mexico I was forced to come to terms with myself on every level,” she thus explained to Joe Jackson. “And what I definitely had to come to terms with is my violence and my withholding, from myself, of my sexuality and how I’d withdrawn from passion in my own life. I know I wrote about my experience of rape in ‘Me and a Gun,’ but it’s another thing to really go back inside myself and see how that experience seeped into my cells, how the disease has spread.”

“A part of me has been unable to open up intimately since I wrote ‘Me and a Gun.’ After so many years I wondered what was it in me that cannot be juicy, that is so dry, except when I play music? I can go out and channel this energy during a show yet the moment I walk backstage afterwards I close down, sexually. And in New Mexico I did finally realise that I have to take responsibility for the fact that the man who originally violated me is not stopping me now- I am. But, still, there is a part of me that hasn’t been able to open up since I came to terms with ‘Me and a Gun.’ And without Eric , my boyfriend, I couldn’t work my way through it right now. (cries) I never talk about this and it helps the healing process to do so. Because people out there must be told about the self-loathing that follows rape and how it’s the greatest breakage in divine law to mutilate themselves, as I have done. Emotionally, I mutilated myself by feeling I’m not worthy of being loved and fucked, and being able to love and fuck at the same time.”

[1NRC Handelblad, January 31, 1994.

[2Mojo, March 1994.